Whipping down the mountainside requires putting in some work first
Founders of Escape Adventures, Heather and Jared Fisher, dismount to stretch their legs on their early summer ride through the Kaibab Forest on their mountain bikes. A fallen coniferous member of said forest has blocked their path. Glancing warily at a coiled rattlesnake in the brush, Jared whips out his phone and begins documenting the surrounding forest, his new reptilian friend, and finally, an impressive chainsaw mounted behind the seat of his bike. No, this is not a wacky accessory or some kind of zombie apocalypse modification, it’s how you clear trails in the backcountry.
Every year, the trails on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon have downed trees crisscrossing the tracks for hikers and mountain bikers, making it either dangerous or impossible to get by. And for the past almost 30 years Jared has been guiding adventurers on all-inclusive biking tours in the southwest United States with his company Escape Adventures. These trails are for everyone to enjoy, not just people taking a tour. So Jared Fisher and his wife Heather are happy to contribute to the mountain biking community to ensure that as many outdoor enthusiasts who would like to can safely enjoy these public lands.
With 27 years of experience clearing trails under Jared’s belt, it’s become routine. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t time consuming. During these tree-clearing missions, Jared and at least one other person assisting will clear up to 25 trees from the trail in one day. Along the trails winding through the Kaibab National Forest of the North Rim, you will see substantial-sized logs pushed off of the path, Jared’s handiwork over the years.
Jared makes sure that he is out clearing these trails before the mountain biking season begins, usually early June. And unlike the baking Arizona heat that you would expect, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is actually a breezy, high elevation area containing the Kaibab forest of ponderosa pines (the same ones that make all of this path clearing necessary) with much cooler temperatures than Grand Canyon National Park. Even healthy forests will have trees that fall annually; because of storms or age or other natural causes. So it’s guaranteed that Jared and Heather will be back out on the North Rim next year!